I have been the pastor of Unity Baptist Church for one year. (We have an anniversary luncheon coming up this Sunday as a matter of fact.) I have preached 51 of the past 52 consecutive Sunday services without preaching a sermon on hell. It may have come up but was never the subject. The Master’s Table has been online since 2008 and there is not a post with hell in the title. And when I did finally preach that sermon (link here for those interested) it was a message about heaven, hell and an exhortation to share the Gospel.
Pastors, preachers and all who teach from the Bible have a command to “rightly divide the Word of truth.” There is no getting around the fact that hell is in the Bible. Jesus did not spend a lot of time talking about it and for that matter the Bible doesn’t have as much to say about it as some might imagine. But we cannot ignore it completely and be a faithful witness. I just read this article at churchleaders.com and recommend it. Some pastors/churches never mention hell at all. Some Christians teach that there is no hell and if there is, God would not let any person go there. I can understand nonbelievers claiming there is no hell. It bothers me that Christians are telling people not to worry about it.
I was recently accused, in the comment section of another blog, of “stringing together” verses that appear to be talking about the same thing but really don’t. The verses in question are from Matthew 8, Mark 9 and Revelation 20. The specific verses are linked but taking verses out of their proper context can be dangerous. Go back sometime and read the full passage, which I did while preaching.
I submit for you consideration Matthew 25. After a couple of parables Jesus talks to his followers about the final judgement. Even if the Matthew and Mark passages are about something else, and we pretend the Book of Revelation doesn’t exist, Matthew 25:31-46 tells us enough. Please read the entire passage; for the sake of not copying and pasting half a chapter, here are verses 41 and 46:
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
I don’t preach on it very often. I have never tried to scare someone into repeating the sinner’s prayer with fire and brimstone. But we cannot ignore it either. We put a lot of stock in the promise of eternal life. Why we would trust Jesus on one but doubt him on the other? Jesus preached that on the day of judgement people would go into eternal punishment. Whatever name we call it by, it is the place of eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Am I wrong? Please support your answer with scripture.